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Longboat Key Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009 6 years ago

Islandside tennis courts debated

by: Kurt Schultheis Managing Editor

Icard Merrill attorney Robert Lincoln, who represents The Islandside Property Owners Coalition, has disputed claims by Longboat Key Club and Resort attorneys that state the 18 Islandside tennis courts don’t have to remain on club property.

Key Club attorneys Brenda Patten and John Patterson both sent memos to Planning, Zoning and Building Director Monica Daigle July 28, disputing Daigle’s claims that the tennis courts have to remain in operation to satisfy a recreational component of the club’s Gulf-planned development.

Club officials want to demolish all but four of the Islandside courts that are no longer needed, they say, because The Tennis Gardens at Harbourside more than satisfies tennis needs for club members.

Lincoln, in an Aug. 6 memo sent to Daigle, states that the terms of amended town resolutions prove that the club is obligated to continue to maintain at least 12 of the Islandside courts.

Wrote Lincoln: “The story, in fact, is simple: To receive approval for the Islandside Gulf-planned development, Arvida (the club’s original owner) promised the town that it would maintain the golf course, club house and tennis facilities.”

Lincoln’s eight-page memo goes on to dispute the memos submitted by Patten and Patterson, explaining that the club must respect the rights of Islandside’s current and future residents who bought property knowing that the club had a responsibility to maintain its recreational amenities.

The coalition Lincoln represents, however, is not considered a party to the issue that exists between club attorneys and Daigle’s interpretation of town code.

In response to Lincoln’s memo, Patten said Lincoln’s approach is “to throw everything he can find into the baking pan, stir it around and hope it turns into a nice soufflé.”

Patten said the town cannot require a developer to maintain facilities for the benefit of its neighbors, explaining that the town did not and cannot require the club to do so.

Daigle says the 18 courts meet the recreational amenities necessary for the construction of Regent Place and Regent Court and cannot be removed. Daigle has not yet responded to memos sent to her office by all three attorneys.

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